Wednesday, April 25, 2007

NBA Legacy Watch: Luol Deng and Tracy McGrady

Deng breaks out
It's very early, but after a few playoff games, Luol Deng is the player who seems to be really breaking out as a superstar.

A 22 year old averaging 18.8 ppg and 7.1 rebounds per game for a 49 win team is impressive. But in the playoffs, Deng is bursting, averaging 29.5 ppg in two wins versus the defending champion Heat--and he's doing so by shooting 60.9% from the field. Last year, Deng's playoff scoring fell off from his regular season scoring, from around 14 ppg to around 10 ppg. If Deng keeps up his strong performance this year (and the Bulls advance past the Heat in the playoffs), Deng might be establishing himself as a star.

Tracy McGrady is no old man
Are you under the impression that Tracy McGrady has to be about 35? He's actually turning 28 in May, but he's been in the league for 10 years, playing for 3 different franchises. He's had his breakouts, his injury issues, disgruntlement, etc., all of which makes it seem like he's been around forever. But at 28, he should have a lot of basketball ahead of him. Michael Jordan won his first (of six) championships at 28.

But despite a 29.8 playoff scoring average, McGrady hasn't had much team playoff success (his teams have never been past the first round). That may be changing, if the Rockets don't blow their 2-0 lead over the Jazz.

I've often dismissed Tracy McGrady by comparing him to Dominique Wilkins--a memorable scorer that never really won anything significant. But McGrady's real legacy has yet to be written.


  1. Anonymous1:59 PM

    Excellent perspective on Luol "Dengue Fever" Deng (why? 'cause he's deadly!).... he's my pick for Most Improved Player this season....

  2. That may be changing, if the Rockets don't blow their 2-0 lead over the Jazz.

    You never know with McGrady. Didn't the Magic blow a 3-0 lead when he was their star?

  3. Wow, Deng was born in Sudan. (That's a massively dumb joke that you will get if you look at Deng's player profile).